Pride of Purpose

Leader Spotlight: Terry Hackworth, Nurse Practitioner, Atlanta

Growing up, Terry Hackworth was a helper. He spent much of his early life looking after his close-knit family. His desire to enter the healthcare field was sparked by the pride he felt when caring for his own family.

Pride of self took a little longer. Eastern Kentucky—a state in the so-called Bible Belt and home to the Free-Will Baptists—was not the easiest place to come out as gay. He imagined telling his family would be difficult, so Terry waited until age 27. “Turns out it was only difficult in my mind. My family has never had an issue with it—not even my grandparents!”

Terry’s lucky, and he chose the field of nursing so he could help those who may not have been so fortunate. His first job—on the adult and pediatric floor of a hospital—taught him the importance of active listening. “Taking care of children requires a different kind of listening. They aren’t as capable of communicating exactly what’s wrong.”

Fast forward some 30 years, and he’s listening more actively than ever. As a nurse practitioner in our Atlanta center, our LGBTQ+ members have his ear and his unwavering support. Giving back to this community has sent him on an exciting career path as he pursues his doctorate in nursing practice. He will work to develop and implement gender-affirming training and care protocols.

The kind of healthcare available and who has access to it is one of the things he is always working to change. “So many people still—even with the ACA—have issues with access to the appropriate levels of healthcare.” To help make those advancements, Terry practices democratic leadership, allowing his team members to participate in the decision-making process. It helps them feel invested in the process and leads to inspiration and innovation. “It’s all about changing how we practice medicine.” And how we gain access to healthcare.

In other words: teamwork makes the dream work. Members seeking gender-affirming care have a whole team of providers, nurses, behavioral health practitioners, and more who offer an environment more conducive for members to become their true selves.

Terry’s teamwork skills have earned him a place in the Gay Softball World Series, sponsored by The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAA). When he’s not working or studying, he plays first base and catcher for the local softball team, which placed second in a league of 13 and will move on to division playoffs in Dallas, Texas.

Terry has lived in Atlanta since 1999. He has an adult son, a three-year-old granddaughter, and a four-legged child named Layla. He likes to cook, travel, and play softball.